OBJECTIVES--An indirect immunofluorescence technique applied to paraffin embedded tissue sections of lesions containing Donovan bodies was evaluated as a serological test for the diagnosis of granuloma inguinale. METHODS--Sera from patients with proven granuloma inguinale, other sexually acquired genital ulcerations and blood donors from areas where granuloma inguinale is rarely encountered as well as from disease-endemic regions were tested. Sera were tested either unabsorbed or following absorption with whole Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria. RESULTS--Using unabsorbed sera at a dilution of 1:160 the test was found to have a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 98%, positive predictive value (PPV) of 89% and negative predictive value (NPV) of 100%. There proved to be no advantage in preabsorbing sera with K. pneumoniae antigen. CONCLUSIONS--In the absence of culture methods for Calymmatobacterium granulomatis, an indirect immunofluorescence technique may prove valuable for the diagnosis of individual cases of granuloma inguinale and as an epidemiological tool in studies of the disease.
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